Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
It took all of five minutes for the Doctor to grow bored with his twin and begin the process of hacking up the “demon” and finding out how it worked. The others watched him hack the thing up for about two hours and then listened to him mutter things about pain receptors that didn’t register heat and compressed layers of cartilage in place of skin for another hour. What it boiled down to was this: it wasn’t flammable and its skin was actually a flexible exoskeleton resistant to multiple forms of damage, and it could probably see extremely well in the dark.
The sword wasn’t actually metal and hadn’t actually been forged. Despite its metallic appearance it was actually a type of stone similar to obsidian and it bore some marks indicating that it had been knapped to a nearly monomolecular edge, which was why it had been able to cut so deeply into the Robot. Striking the Robot had dulled the edge considerably, but it could likely still hack off a flesh and blood limb with great ease.
When the Sorcerer woke up and they got him talking in a language they could all understand, he had some interesting stories to tell. The language he spoke was something that ended up similar to a cross between Russian and German, at least enough that the Robot and Doctor were able to piece it together and get a halfway decent picture of the events that had caused the visitation.
The gist of it was that the Germans were messing with forces far beyond their control and they had no intention of understanding those forces before they got themselves in over their head. Their so called “occultists” were using rituals and machines to play with the very fabric of space, time, and reality itself. The Sorcerer claimed that reality was like an enormous disco ball, this was an interpretation of the Doctor’s, and at its core was one true reality and all others were reflections of light cast on the wall. Earth and the place the Sorcerer was from were two of those reflections that fell close to one another.
The German “occultists” were playing with the light source and drawing one reality close to the other in an attempt to call warriors from the Sorcerer’s world to their own to exterminate their enemies. The Atlanteans were savage and unstoppable warriors, but these creatures, these world hopping mercenaries were exponentially worse. All they asked of the Germans was a death toll, they would kill for the Germans until they reached a certain death toll and then they would fall back into their own world, but if they did not reach that number fighting the foes of the Germans they would turn on those that called them into this world.
To plan for this the Germans had begun breeding Jews and blacks in their camps to help pay the toll, the death camps were where they threw educated Jews and undesirables not the stock they were breeding to pay the toll. What the Germans didn’t realize was that the creatures from the Sorcerer’s world, which he called dayvuhs, valued human life as much as the Germans valued those of the Jews. The Sorcerer had no true knowledge of the complex value system the dayvuhs rated life at, his best estimation was that they could empty the Earth of all life two, perhaps three, times before the agreed upon toll was reached and he only knew that because that was what had happened to his world.
When asked how he was able to travel between worlds, the Sorcerer responded with something that amounted to saying magic did it. The Doctor scoffed when the Robot finished translating and the Robot made the strange clunking noises he always made when his processors were trying to analyze information at high speeds. No one was exactly sure why his insides made noises when he was standing still, he was primarily electrical in nature and aside from some servos and actuators built around his motion centers he didn’t have too many moving parts.
“I believe I have misinterpreted his words.”
“How’s that now,” asked the Doctor.
“We are assuming his language to be some bastardized hybrid of Russian and German and also assigning our own native values to his words, whereas his language could have evolved over time to give alternate names for various concepts and systems. I believe we have incorrectly interpreted his version of science for magic.”
“What are you saying?”
“If I may interrupt you for a moment,” said the Sorcerer in only slightly accented English.
The Robot was unfazed and said,
“By all means.”
“I believe the golem is accurate in his assessment. I have inaccurately communicated my methods of travel. To travel between words is no mean feat and the rituals required to summon and direct energy in the proper combinations is quite difficult. It took many months to collect and store the necessary energy in the properly anointed receptacles. I did not just wave my hands and wish myself here.”
The Gangster, Doctor, and Driver exchanged looks, and the Doctor said, “That sounds like magic.”
The Sorcerer paused in thought and scrunched his eyebrows together in concentration, trying to find the proper words in this unfamiliar tongue.
“You,” he gestured at the Doctor, “are an artificer, a builder of machines and mechanisms.”
The Doctor nodded.
“You manipulate physical objects with physical forces, correct?”
“For the most part.”
“Good. My skillset is one of invisible forces and their manipulation. With the proper concentration and connection to an adequate source of energy I can manipulate the molecules of the air around us to cause friction and summon fire from thin air. With properly timed blows from my boot heel and the application of the proper amount of energy I can cause an earthquake to be produced from those vibrations. My magic is no less mundane than your own, merely of a different type. As is fitting, you and I are opposite sides of the same coin my friend.”
“Yes, but where do you get this so called “energy” to fuel these “spells”?”
“In my world we have built enormous crystalline obelisks that rise miles into the air. Over the centuries they have absorbed everything from solar radiation to lightning bolts, to the kinetic energy imparted upon them by falling stars as they strike them. They offer nearly limitless energy that can be tapped and directed if one knows the proper formula and incantations.”
“Formula and incantations, you’re back to talking magic again.”
“No, not magic, language barriers are what prevent us from communicating properly. I will show you.”
The Sorcerer began gesturing in the air with a finger and as his finger moved trails of orange light left sigils and shapes hanging in the air, while he gestured he kept up a steady, rhythmic, intonation of foreign words.
The Robot whispered to the Doctor, “Do you understand?”
The Doctor shook his head, “No.”
“Look closely.” He pointed to a string of figures in the growing series and said, “That one, visualize that as an X, the following series as a pair of parentheses surrounding an equation, and that one as an equals signs. Do you understand?”
The Doctor’s jaw dropped, “It’s an algebraic formula or cipher for unlocking the energy stored within a giant battery, his incantations are a voice recognition process aren’t they?”
“Indeed. I can only assume there is some mental adaptation in his people, or perhaps some advance biological wetware that allows their will and intellect to properly direct the energy at their command. ”
The Gangster and Driver had remained silent and in the background, but the Driver leaned to the Gangster’s ear and whispered, “You got any thoughts about all this?”
The Gangster exhaled a cloud of smoke and said, ”Demons seem to die quick enough if you plug em full of enough bullets an we got plenty a those. What’s got me good an concerned is that we got two of the damn nutter leadin us around Chi-town now.”
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
“As impressive as that is,” continued the Gangster, “you’re still a moron.”
The Robot gave a shrug and moved to the tank and said, “Brace yourself, Atlantean.”
The Vampire nodded and gave a toothy grin, then the Robot burst the heavy glass of the tank apart with a blow from his metal fist. Water and thick chunks of jagged glass went everywhere.
The Doctor scowled and said, “That was perhaps slightly overdramatic.”
The Robot nodded and said, “Agreed.”
The Vampire immediately began suffocating without water rushing past his gills. The Doctor sighed in resignation and rushed forward with a breathing apparatus and shut it closed around the Vampire’s neck. The device began making noise similar to the sound of tap water running out a faucet and the Vampire began breathing again. It leapt to its feet and the Doctor leapt away from it, his metal gauntlets humming with power and aimed in the Vampire’s directions.
Ammo belts began swishing as the Robot began cycling the barrels of his arm, “Will you abide by our agreement?”
The Vampire smiled and said, “Of course.”
Then it leapt at the Robot, who made a scratchy static-like noise with his speakers that could be considered as much a sigh of resignation as the one the Doctor had made.
The Robot’s sensors had detected miniscule movements of the tendons and muscles of the Vampire flesh and knew it had planned to lunge, so by the time it reached where he had been, he was actually behind the Vampire and he brought his clenched metal fist down on the back of its neck.
“Your actions meet the letter of our agreement, but violate the spirit of it. You will suffer a time out for six hours.”
The Robot went to the thick power cables that had powered the Vampire’s tube and wrenched them out of the wall. The cable was about the thickness of two or three human fingers and when he returned to the fallen Vampire he tore it into shorter pieces and wrapped it around the creature’s limbs, effectively hog-tying it. Atlanteans had a semi-malleable bone structure so they were able to slip free of most bonds so the Robot called on the Doctor.
“If you would fuse the cables together without severing any of its limbs your assistance would be appreciated.”
The Doctor shook his head and said, “You are aware that these gauntlets are slightly more complex than welding tools?”
“I am. Nonetheless, I lack energy weapons at this time and he is nearly as strong as I am. Anything short of fused metal bonds entrapping it is unlikely to hold it.”
The Doctor nodded and approached the Vampire. With a razor thin beam of red light he began to fuse the metal of the wiring together. The thick rubber exterior of the cable began smoking and filled the room with the awful stench of melted rubber. The Robot picked up the Vampire by a foot and hung it upside down from one of the various hooks on the wall in the Gangster’s portion of the lab.
“That went pretty damn well I’d say,” said the Gangster with a chuckle.
The Robot nodded, “Indeed. He made no attempts to harm any of you.”
The Driver raised a hand, one finger sticking out from the fist and twirled it around saying, “Woohoo.”
Something beeped in the Doctor’s portion of the lab, and within the Robot’s chest. The two looked at each other, the Doctor with a raised eyebrow.
“It would be prudent for us to take cover I think.”
The Gangster checked the action on his Tommy gun and said, “From what?”
The level of radiation in the lab is increasing exponentially, although it does not appear to be any kind of radiation I am familiar with.”
The Doctor tapped something on his gauntlet and it made noises and he said, “It’s not radiation as we understand it, and whatever it is that is beginning to saturate the lab isn’t hostile to human flesh, at least not at its current levels.”
“Comforting,” said the Driver.
There was a crack like the thunder of a sonic boom that came from everywhere at once and suddenly the room stank of ozone and rotten eggs and burning matches. Everyone startled into motion, looking everywhere at once, weapons readied. The snap and pop of electricity joined the noise filling the room but there was no sign of lightning anywhere.
In his cold, emotionless voice the Robot said, “Something comes.”
“What in the name of all that’s licentious and illegal does that mean?” yelled the Gangster above the racket.
“Hug the walls, away from the center of the room.”
Everyone followed the Doctor’s orders and retreated from the center of the room. Something appeared where they’d been standing, more specifically where the Doctor had been standing. It was a small orb of blue, like the pilot light of a flamethrower about to burn down the universe. Scorch marks began to appear on the floor near the floating orb, which was beginning to grow in size. Bolts of lightning began to fall from it and reach out to the floor and the nearby workstations. The Robot’s sensors told him that any one of those little fingers of plasma could split him in two. He took another step back from the ball of lightning.
The orb grew to the size of a man, and then to the size of the Robot and in its depths a black tear appeared like a hole in the bottom of the universe. A huddled form fell out of the hole, its clothing smoking as if from fire and its body still. With one last thunderclap the ball of energy shrank once more to the size of a flickering blue pilot light and disappeared.
The Doctor and Robot approached the crumpled form, which they determined was human. The Robot turned his torso towards the Doctor and then back to the body on the floor, his gun arm shifting its direction a hair towards the Doctor and then back to the body. He stopped moving and let the Doctor approach.
The body’s clothing was burned black, but it was otherwise ok, two metal bracelets, almost like medieval metal wristguards stood out on its arms. When the Doctor flipped the body over there was a sudden shocked intake of breath and a widening of eyes all across the room, for the man on the floor was the Doctor. From his bad teeth to his pale blue eyes, he was the Doctor’s twin in every way.
Then there was another thunderclap and something else fell out of the ether that sat between worlds. It was the size of the Robot and clad in primitive metal armor, but unlike the Robot’s clean metallic smell, this creature reeked of rotten eggs and freshly struck matches. What flesh could be seen on it was beat red, like skin held too long under scalding hot water and its face was as inhuman as the Vampire’s. Horns sprouted from its head and its eyes were as black and alien as the Vampire’s.
“I can read its biometrics with my scanners, but I cannot process the information properly. I would estimate that it is hostile.”
The Gangster spat the last stub of a cigarette from his mouth and said, “All I was needing to know.”
Then the piano thundered and riddled the red-skinned thing with bullets. The Gangster emptied half a drum before the rounds had any effect on the creature even when they didn’t ricochet off its armor, and the ones that did leave wounds only caused it to snarl in rage and howl words in some gut twisting language.
The Doctor pulled his twin clear of the red-skinned thing and had erected a blue shield of force to protect them from the thing, and the spray of bullets from the other side of the room. With his other gauntlet he sent beams of searing energy towards the thing. It ignored them.
In one hand the creature bore a huge cleaver of a sword, like something out of a bad fantasy movie, something too large and unwieldy for a human to use with one or two hands. It whipped the blade around in one clawed hand as easily as the Vampire slashed at its foes with its talons. From its other talon tipped hand eerie green drops of fluid dripped from the nails and left scorch marks on the floor.
The Robot set its own weapon to flinging death and found his weapon only slightly more effective than the Gangsters, which made it a priority in the monster’s eyes and the creature rushed towards it. When they crashed together the Robot ignored the massive cleaver and gripped the creature’s shoulder with its fist, and it cost him.
The massive blade was not of this world and neither was the monster, whose strength was much greater than the Vampire’s and likely equal to the Robot’s own. The blade hit the Robot’s chest in a diagonal blow and stuck there, buried a full inch in the armored hide of the Robot. The Robot stumbled back from the inertia of the blow but managed to keep his metal digits around the creature’s shoulder.
“Fuck,” yelled the Driver eloquently as he saw the Robot’s renowned hide split.
“That was unexpected,” said the Robot as he stuck his gun arm into the belly of the red creature and put the weapon on full auto.
“Everyone duck,” he said as he expended 40% of his ammunition stores on the creature’s belly.
When he had finished there was a hole clear through the belly of the monster and its chest armor was completely buckled and torn apart. Bullets had ricocheted all over the room, bouncing from the armor and from the Doctor’s shield of energy. The Driver and Gangster had taken cover in the Chevy and that had kept them intact, but the Chevy itself needed a new paint job and some repairs to its exterior.
The Robot dropped the corpse but the blade stuck in his chest. Its sensors had determined there was no internal damage whatsoever, but any blow of any sort that hit upon the seam in his chest would likely penetrate his interior. The Robot wrenched the blade out of its body and set its sensors to determining how it had been able to cut it open.
“I cannot determined the origin of this alloy.”
“Fancy. How about determining what the fuck just happened, can you do that toaster?” yelled the Gangster.
“My function is more complex than a toaster, and no, I cannot determine what happened.”
“Looks like a demon straight out of Hell, said the Driver.
“Unlikely. Hell is an imaginary place that was used to soothe the minds victims of crime and violence by promising eventual punishment and some sort of prison-like plane of fire and or ice, it is Christian metaphor for concepts like karma.”
“Say what you like tin man, red skin, don’t burn like other shit does when the Doctor hits it with the red lights, an it’s got horns. Sounds like a demon to me.”